Yesterday night, Michael Jackson the so-called “King of Pop” was finally laid to rest some 70 days after his death. In death as in life he was surrounded by controversy. CNN reports:
Jackson’s burial may lay to rest some of the mystery and controversy that erupted with his sudden death on June 25.
His large family was divided over where the superstar’s final resting place should be, but matriarch Katherine Jackson settled on a crypt inside the well-guarded and ornate Great Mausoleum at Forest Lawn cemetery in Glendale, California.
Jackson has always as controversial as he was popular, though in recent years the controversy outweighed the popularity by no small amount. Even now speculation swirls about the cause of his death with the LA Coroner’s office recently declaring his death a “homicide.”
The coroner announced last week that he had ruled Jackson’s death a homicide. A summary of the coroner’s report said the anesthetic propofol and the sedative lorazepam were the primary drugs responsible for the singer’s death. Los Angeles police detectives have not concluded their criminal investigation and no one has been charged.
It is a sad thing when someone dies; certainly it is a significant event when a person of such celebrity as Michael Jackson dies. But it is a telling event as well about how the culture itself celebrates such a person or marks their passing. While I will not comment on Michael’s death nor his life (in honor of my commitment not to speak ill of the dead), I will say that the re-writing of history upon death is a trend I think we ought to leave behind.
No one lives an unscathed life. But there are many lives of exemplary service and benefit to mankind beyond entertainment, which was after all Jackson’s chief contribution to society. Despite all of our rhetoric, we do not really care much about the things that matter. We care about celebrity, gossip, identifying with some cause; all of these means by which we make ourselves feel bigger and more important.
In the end though, Michael Jackson is just one more corpse rotting in the grave. One more of billions waiting to meet his Maker. By attaching more meaning to his death than to that of some obscure villager in western China, or some elderly nun in a convent, we perhaps hope to make our own lives more than they are.
The currently raging health care debate is in some ways about the constant human struggle to face down death itself. And I believe that in the death of Michael Jackson many see their own mortality looming before them, Baby Boomers especially for whom he was an iconic figure. As boomers move into retirement age they are realizing that no amount of cosmetic changes, or healthy eating, or whole grain foods will stop the date with death. And it is that realization that flows just beneath the surface and makes the conversation about health care so potent.
Who really cares about Michael Jackson… People are still mourning over this guy? I can’t believe his memorial service in LA cost the city $2.5 million. The city of LA was charging reporters to be there. I mean, really? How many millions did the Jacksons make? How much were they worth? I’m sure they could have contributed to the cost of the memorial service. Never have I ever heard of a city paying that much money for the memorial service of a child molester…
The Jackson family is just as weird as Michael was.
All this time to bury Wacko Jacko?
They are milking this all they can.
It is all for show.
Michael Jackson was a child rapist and a fraud.
The facts speak for themselves.
This whole thing is sick and is a joke.
Bury the clown.
If the Jacksons keep this bs up, I will continue to expose their garbage and Michael for the freak he was.
MJ belongs in a cemetery for fools.
GEORGE VREELAND HILL
Sometimes I wonder what kind of hagiographies will be written when Charles Manson dies. Will the media spin him as a tragically misunderstood figure?
It’s sad how people in attendace of Michael’s farewell pretend to have been a friend. Most of them talked behind his back especially Lisa Marie Presley on Larry King Live 2005. Why did she even show up? And his own sister La Toys talked about Michael repeatedly on the news–which only mad her look more insane!
Too bad Michael died without knowing who really loved him.
Like your site.
Our culture seems to be going down the toilet. Jackson’s life was a tragedy, like so many other celebs. Somehow people seem to think that being famous makes up for that – but he’s just as dead as anybody. To me, the quality of his life appears no better than that of a prison inmate, trapped by the consequences of his actions and decisions, addicted, tormented. What a hero.